After three weeks at the top of domestic box office, “The Batman” will face competition from an almost endangered Hollywood species: movie stars.
At a time when well-known franchises, not great talents, have dictated commercial success, Paramount is betting on the combined wattage of Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum to lure audiences to “The Lost City,” a romantic comedy that opens in theaters this weekend and returns to a genre that has mostly fallen into disfavor with cinema-goers.
“The Missing City” is expected to earn $ 20 million in its opening weekend, driven by strong reviews and A-list actors, including a cameo from Brad Pitt and villainous twists from Daniel Radcliffe. These ticket sales would put the film in an extremely close race against “The Batman” for first place.
After “The Batman,” a superhero adventure starring Robert Pattinson as Gotham’s fiercest defender, raised $ 36 million last weekend, the film seeks to add another $ 18 million to $ 20 million between Friday and Sunday. To date, “The Batman” has generated $ 300 million in North America, making the comic book adaptation the second pandemic-era movie to cross that benchmark after “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Globally, the film has passed $ 600 million.
“The Missing City” cost $ 68 million, a large production budget for a romantic comedy. But Bullock and Tatum have robust payment dates, and filming on the spot in the Dominican Republic during COVID-19 was not cheap. While the film should benefit from positive word-of-mouth and the promise of Tatum’s bare butt, “The Lost City” faces several challenges, namely the absence of an adult audience, the box office’s decline for non-superhero films, and Netflix’s the construction of romantic comedies.
Still, there are signs that older crowds are not entirely reluctant to visit their local multiplex. “Dog,” a roadtrip buddy comedy starring Tatum, is a recent example of an original film that beat ticket office expectations. That movie opened last month to $ 15.1 million and has since generated $ 61.9 million in North America, which is essentially blockbuster status, as it only cost $ 15 million to make.
Aaron and Adam Nee directed “The Lost City”, an amorous action adventure set in a remote tropical jungle. The story follows Bullock as Loretta Sage, a middle-aged writer who is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Radcliffe) in hopes that she can discover the treasure of the old lost city from her recent history. Film critics have praised the chemistry between Bullock and Tatum, whose Fabian-like character tries to come to Loretta’s rescue, though he undermines some tropes about the girl in need.
Variations Chief film critic Peter Debruge described the film as “a breath of fresh air” – “the kind of airy two-hour escape that does not take itself too seriously, and which delivers blatant teasing between Bullock and Tatum.”
Several films open in limited release, including A24’s action-adventure-comedy-fantasy-sci-fi mashup “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, Sony Pictures Classic’s steamy romantic drama “Mothering Sunday” and Bleecker Street’s thriller “Infinite Storm”.